Cases & Deals

Advocacy groups prevail in Supreme Court, winning right to challenge Ohio's "false statement" law

Client(s) Susan B. Anthony List; Coalition Opposed to Additional Spending and Taxes

On June 16, 2014, the Supreme Court unanimously ruled in favor of Jones Day's clients, Susan B. Anthony List (SBA) and Coalition Opposed to Additional Spending and Taxes (COAST), holding that the advocacy groups may pursue their First Amendment challenge to Ohio's criminal prohibition on making "false statements" in election campaigns.

The Sixth Circuit had dismissed the groups' challenge as not "ripe" for review. The Supreme Court rejected that reasoning, concluding that the groups faced a credible threat of being subjected to administrative enforcement proceedings or even criminal prosecution if they continued to speak out against politicians who supported the Affordable Care Act and its provisions authorizing taxpayer-funded abortion.  That credible threat was a sufficiently concrete injury, warranting pre-enforcement judicial review of the law's constitutionality.

The case will now return to the lower courts, which will consider whether Ohio's law violates the Constitution by chilling core political speech.

Susan B. Anthony List et al. v. Driehaus et al., Case No. 13-193 (U.S.)